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Selecting plants. Select healthy nursery plants. How to choose good plants

Selecting Plants


Selecting Plants for your Home or Garden


Selecting plants is a key issue for your garden. I would like to go through a few key points in making sure you get good stock that will adapt well to your garden.

I would always advise selecting plants that are grown in a similar zone to your local area. You can buy plants that are from zones below your area but I would not advise buying plants above your hardiness zone. For example if you get frost in your area and you buy plants from a temperate or tropical climate nursery then you could encounter problems.

Some of the issues you may have when buying plants from a different area zone are:

– plants take a long time to get established,

– plants can get sick, diseased or die,

– plant leaves are more likely to burn and get damaged from hot or cold winds,

– plants can essentially develop into a low vigor, not as robust plant.


Selecting Plants – at the Nursery

Selecting plants from a nursery. It is a good idea when selecting plants from a nursery to judge the health and vigor of your potential plants. A good start for your plants can mean a successful start in your garden.

When plants are grown using excessive watering habits, you must realise that plants have adapted to this treatment. Hence you may need to continue this treatment and slowly wean them off frequent watering. Some plants are in heavy sun or shade and may need to be slowly adapted to your garden position.

When plants are old and root bound (sometimes referred to as pot bound) it can affect transplant performance. For example, if your plants roots have totally filled into pot it may continue to act root bound even after planting. Many plants, especially exotics are generally fine with root damage or teasing roots out when planting. This can encourage roots to travel into the surrounding soil faster. Some natives however, do not like a lot of root disturbance & damaging major roots could lead to serious problems.


Selecting Plants – get to know your Plants

Selecting plants can also be an art in knowing what certain plants are meant to look like. A beautiful robust Camelia Japonica for example should have healthy looking large deep green leaves. An Acacia Limelight should have fine, slender pale green sometimes yellow leaves. One point I should make is that at different times of the year foliage can look different. In spring a plants foliage could be very light green, though in high summer the foliage could be a much darker green. Some plants are desirable for different coloured leaves at different time of the year. Deciduous plants are a prime example of vast foliage variation during the seasons.

Many garden books, online guides and even apps can help you discover new plants or identify existing plants. There are all kinds of ways to help you learn about plants and their characteristics.


Selecting Plants that suit your area

Some plants that you buy from a nursery may need to be keep in a partly or fully shaded position and then acclimatized to your desired planting position. Try not to plant delicate plants in very hot weather or during frost periods. It is best to scout your local area and choose plants that have adapted to your local growing conditions. I am general a big fan of incorporating natives into your environment. There are always many Australian Native plants that can grow well among your favourite exotics. Natives have come a long way in the recent decade. You can now find all kinds of native plants for every climate, condition, planting situation.

As a general rule, planting is best done in spring and autumn.


Selecting plants for the right spot in your garden will dramatically increase their chance of survival. Check with your local nursery if you are unsure about when to plant the plants you are wanting to purchase.


selecting plants austrlian natives plant species climate adaptable exotics


If you would like to look at a map on plant hardiness zones or climatic conditions click here:

Hardiness Zones for your Garden and Plants


Links to Plant Finding Tools and Encyclopedias to help you when Selecting Plants:


Gardening Australia is always a reliable plant directory

Better Homes and Gardens Plant Finder

Gardenology.org provides useful plant information

Garden.org Plant Database


Feel free to share your plant stories or successes – Get in Touch!



1 Comment

  1. Hello, I really love your blogging. Please keep the information coming 🙂